The Huron Fringe Birding Festival attracts top leaders in the birding and natural history communities. From our own Bruce and Grey county experts to Ontario's foremost naturalists, we have a wonderful roster of leaders on a range of event topics.
Each of our leaders is selected for his or her skills leading birding hikes, workshops and presentations, photography sessions, wildflower walks or archaeology outings.
Click on each name to view the Leader Biography. You can also access the biographies during the registration process.
Abby Collins has had a keen interest in birds her whole life, having attended nearly every Huron Fringe Birding Festival. 23 out of 24 festivals isn’t too bad! Her love of warblers was sparked by countless American Redstarts arriving in MacGregor every spring. Hailing from Bruce County, she now enjoys discovering new birds from her home in Perth County.
Abby is a primary atlasser in the 2021-2025 Breeding Bird Atlas, along with being a member of several local birding clubs. She’s a graduate of the Ontario Master Naturalist Program from Lakehead University. You can be sure her binoculars are never far from reach.
Adrienne Mason is a Masters Candidate in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo, supervised by Stephen Murphy. Adrienne completed her Environmental Science degree at Trent University and worked as an ecological restorationist coordinating and implementing an Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Pine River Watershed, in Bruce County Ontario. She is currently working as a Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo to understand the dynamics affecting Fairy Lake and to help design a restoration plan to increase its health.
Originally from the Halton region, Alessandra is an avid birder who has been banding for the past 8 years. Having been guided by experts at observatories such as Haldimand, Pelee Island, Longpoint, and Hilliardton, her main goal is to continue to help conserve wildlife and educate others to do the same. She is a recent BSc. graduate, having studied at the University of Guelph. Now that she is free, her goal is to continue to travel the world; she supposed the Bruce Peninsula is a good place to start.
Arni is a life-long naturalist and conservationist and has recently relocated to the Bruce Peninsula from Orillia where he was the Vice-president of the Orillia Naturalists’ club. He currently volunteers for the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association and Bruce Peninsula National Park. Arni is proud to have had his images published in conservation-themed, international journals including the prestigious Birdlife Australia, Wild Seed Project in Maine, National Audubon Society and Canadian Geographic.
For many years Audrey was a presenter with the Monarch Teacher Network, leading workshops on the monarch butterfly, habitat development and Voices From the Land (engaging children and adults with art through nature, language and drama) throughout Canada and the USA. She taught elementary school with the Bluewater District School Board for 25 years. Prior to teaching, Audrey had a career as a designer/weaver of wearable art and a founding member of Makers gallery in Owen Sound. She now embraces the opportunity to travel, hike, ski, bike, canoe and explore this wonderful world with her husband and share her love and concerns for the natural world and monarch butterflies with the public.
Bill Crins is a talented ecologist with particular expertise in birds, grasses, sedges and wildflowers. He started his career as an interpretative naturalist at Algonquin Park. He was a senior ecologist with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources prior to his retirement. More recently he has continued to share his expertise as a lecturer at University of Toronto - Scarborough. He has recently coauthored a book on Flowerflies. He volunteers with Kawartha Land Trust and the Peterborough Rotary. He was involved in the description of a new sedge with 3 other researchers, which they named the Juniper Sedge. Bill enjoys spending time outside: hiking, birding, botanizing, photographing, and viewing all elements of biodiversity with his daughter, Emma and partner, Natasha. His other, non-outdoors hobbies include stamp collecting, curling, listening to folk and classical music, and watching soccer.
Bluewater Astronomical Society
The Bluewater Astronomical Society promotes astronomy education in the Bluewater counties of Bruce and Grey. Their organization holds star gazing sessions, lectures and astronomy events for students and the general public. They have a large, modern observatory, the ES Fox Observatory, on the grounds of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre which is now Canada's 15th Dark Sky Preserve. There they show, to young and old alike, views of the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. Their Dark Sky Preserve provides heavenly views under one of the best star gazing sites in Ontario. You will be amazed!
Bob’s background is in physical geography and biology. Most of his career was spent working locally as a naturalist and ecologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Today, he enjoys bumping around his farm in old Keppel Township, boiling sap, cross-country skiing and kayaking. Bob has worked with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists over many years to publish several books about the natural history of Grey and Bruce Counties. One of the books “Geology and Landforms of Grey and Bruce Counties” forms the basis for one of the outings of the festival. Bob is currently research chair of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association. Don’t ask him anything about sugar maple or maple syrup as he won’t stop talking about it.
Cherie-Lee is the Environment Regulatory & Research Manager with the Environment & Sustainability Division at Bruce Power where she leads a strong team of passionate people. Sustainability related initiatives include Land Use and Biodiversity, Interactions with Lake Huron, Invasive Species Control and Climate Change. Her work with industry peers, researchers and consultants to develop solutions and approaches for continued environmental protection result in Bruce Power being a leader in driving innovation. She is active with many community, research and innovation entities and works with local Indigenous communities to incorporate values into monitoring and assessment.
Very few people can say they have an intimate knowledge of a Provincial Park; but Chris can. Chris was the Superintendent of MacGregor Point Provincial Park for around 30 of its 44 years of operation. In addition to managing MacGregor Point, he was responsible for Nature Reserve class parks in Bruce and Grey counties and Sauble Falls and Inverhuron Provincial Parks.
Now retired, he has put on many miles in a Roadtrek, exploring parks near and far!
Dana Latour is passionate about conservation and enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for birding. From a very young age she has been interested in all forms of nature, especially birds. She is pursuing this interest by studying Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the University of Guelph.
Dana’s primary focus is on birds but she can also identify reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies.
Dana loves to share her knowledge and has led bird and nature outings in Huron County. She has developed a keen ear for bird calls through study and extensive experience monitoring morning flight and nocturnal migration.
Dana also volunteers for the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, multiple Christmas Bird Counts, and is the primary atlasser for three squares for Ontario’s 3rd breeding bird atlas. Dana's dedication, passion and skill will make for a fun and educational outing!
David was a high school chemistry teacher for 35 years. Now retired, he is a singer, actor and TV host, and more importantly, a Master Bird Bander – one of only 100 in Canada.
Since 1978 he has banded 171,759 birds of 193 species, but who’s counting. As David says, “I am not good at keeping track…the totals are really personal goals/achievements…banding is not a competitive sport.”
David spends about 200 days a year in the Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area north of Grand Valley where he meticulously documents each banding to better understand the habitat and needs of birds.
David has been birding since he was a young lad growing up in the English countryside. His interest continued after his move to Canada in his late teens and was strongly reignited again after time spent in Central America. Currently, David is a popular leader for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, and with local birders, with a focus on the Beaver Valley. During the pandemic he started up a ‘Birding Beaver Valley’ Facebook group for ‘a few people who might be interested’ and it has grown into hundreds of members. He co-established and guides for the ‘Boots, Birds and Breakfast’ birding and nature tour company in the Beaver Valley.
David is also a lifetime botany enthusiast, professional gardener and plant health care specialist.
Dennis, with his late wife Gwen, have enjoyed the Bruce Peninsula for over 50 years. They started bird watching in 1982 when a Pileated Woodpecker landed on a maple tree in front of their cottage and out of curiosity, purchased a field guide. They were hooked!
They were encouraged by Martin Parker to participate in the first Bird Atlassing Project and subsequently volunteered again from 2001 - 2005. Martin was Dennis' mentor and provided him with four bluebird nesting boxes to put up on the Bruce. These first Eastern Bluebird nests were located at Silver Creek Cemetery in 1982. Since then they have fledged almost 3,000 Eastern Bluebirds.
Dennis continues to check 100 bluebird boxes each breeding season. These boxes have also had good success with Tree Swallows, House Wrens and Black-capped Chickadees.
Since retiring from teaching, Doug has been able to indulge his lifelong passions of nature study, photography and travel. He can often be found wandering the back roads of Bruce and Grey counties in search of flora, fauna and landforms to photograph. Doug is a member of the Bruce Birding Club, the Saugeen Shores Camera Club and a past-president of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park. A newer passion is spending time teaching his granddaughter all about nature.
Esme has always been fascinated by the natural world and entered the world of ecology through a love of birds during her environmental science degree. Eight years ago she moved to the Saugeen Peninsula to work as a biologist for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nations Species at Risk Program and fell in love with the landscapes, species, and people of the Peninsula. Since then, she has dedicated her personal and professional life to protecting this landscape and the species that call it home. Currently, Esme works as Program Director of Midwestern Ontario for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) based out of Dyers Bay and leads NCC’s conservation work on the Saugeen Peninsula and other landscapes across Midwestern Ontario. A few years ago Esme developed a passion for astrophotography and landscape photography and loves to share the beauty of the natural world through her images and hopes to inspire others to protect our natural spaces while we can.
Ezra is a Hamilton-based birder who has been passionate about birds and nature from a young age, but his hobby grew into a fully-fledged obsession in 2019. In 2022, he embarked on an Ontario big year, which saw him beating the previous record from 2017. He is excited to be a hike leader at the festival for the second year in a row.
Fred Jazvac is a veteran member of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival planning committee, a member and a past-president of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists and the organizer of the Bruce Birding Club. He has given workshops on a variety of topics both at the festival and for other naturalist groups.
He is a retired teacher, football and basketball coach having worked with the Hamilton Board of Education. In fact, Fred was inducted into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame along with his team, the Hamilton Hurricanes who won a Canadian Championship in 1972.
He is also a natural coach, encourager and leader in birding.
Ian Shanahan was exposed to the natural world from the very beginning alongside his father Don. The moment that truly hooked him, however, came at age 12 when a Peregrine Falcon whizzed by him and his dad at top speed on the beach at Presqu’ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario.
Ian's formal education in the arts and education was interspersed with working as an interpretive naturalist at Presqu’ile and Algonquin Provincial Parks over 13 seasons where his interest in birds spread to other winged creatures and all aspects of the natural world. He also served as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin where he coordinated the Park's long-standing education program.
Ian has led nature tours across southern Ontario, including two annual birding outings with the Ontario Field Ornithologists. He completed a two-year term as the co-editor of OFO's long-standing tri-annual publication OFO News and is now the General Editor of Green Teacher magazine. Previously, Ian led group tours to destinations including the Canadian Arctic, the Bay of Fundy, Hudson Bay, the Prairies, Iceland, the Galápagos Islands, and Costa Rica. He leads tours locally near Presqu'ile Park with Shrew - Connecting People with Nature.
The spring bird migration through southern Ontario has always been a source of inspiration and wonder, and Ian can't wait to share it with you!
James is a favourite local bird hike leader at MacGregor Point Provincial Park and the Bruce Birding Club. He brings his unique enthusiasm to bird hikes and easily imparts his wide knowledge to the group. He will help you understand the importance of birding by ear and habitat requirements.
James is coordinator of the Kincardine Christmas Bird Count, a primary Atlaser for a number of squares in the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and sits on the Grey Bruce Bird Records Committee. He has received the Festival's Norah Toth Award for his involvement with the Bruce Birding Club, his support of citizen science and his commitment to and support of the Festival.
Jarmo Jalava was a keen birder long before he could seriously grow facial hair. His first teenage summer job involved reintroducing endangered Peregrine Falcons to the wilds of Algonquin Park in 1978. Since then, he has devoted his life to advancing the cause of healthy ecosystems with science and creativity, working closely with First Nations, federal and provincial agencies and many NGOs, as well as the private sector. He currently serves as ecologist/advisor for the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office and is involved in many other conservation initiatives. Jarmo lives in a 130-year old log home on the beautiful Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, where his backyard visitors include Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Sandhill Cranes and even the occasional Peregrine Falcon.
Jean is well known to Ontario birders; she was president of the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) from 1995 - 2004 and edited OFO News for 14 years. Her special interests are shorebirds, grassland birds, gulls and bird identification. Jean loves the Hudson Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario and has spent many summers as a volunteer surveying shorebirds and waterfowl around James and Hudson bays for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Royal Ontario Museum. Jean is a leader for Quest Nature Tours and has visited French Polynesia, Svalbard - Norwegian Arctic, Belize, Guatemala, Galapagos among other exotic locations.
In 2016 Jean was named a Distinguished Ornithologist by OFO.
Jenna grew up on the north Bruce Peninsula. She left to get a degree in wildlife biology and scientific illustration and returned to work for Parks Canada in Tobermory in ecological research and nature interpretation. Her passion is learning about, teaching and preserving traditional Métis skills and knowledge. Jenna recognizes that Métis art forms capture her people’s history and nature and that traditional art forms such as beading and moccasin making help keep her culture alive. She likes to use her illustration and communication skills to record knowledge and teach others about nature and history. As an artist, it is her wish to create art that simply inspires others and hopefully, captures the Métis spirit.
Jeremy is a career naturalist, photographer, and tour guide at Point Pelee and across Ontario. He lives in Leamington, Ontario. He takes part in citizen science and volunteering programs, and is a contract field biologist with Bird Studies Canada. He is member of the Vortex Optics Field Team and an active member in naturalist clubs like Ontario Field Ornithologists and Essex County Field Naturalists, as well as many online naturalist communities.
Jeremy currently holds the record for the most bird species spotted in a single year in Ontario!
Jerry Asling is a retired dentist and in retirement has been a member of Saugeen Nature since 1980 and on the board for most of that time. He has chaired the program committee of Saugeen Nature for the past 26 years. With his wife, Joan, Jerry has maintained a bluebird trail of over 400 boxes in Grey Bruce for 27 years. For this activity, Jerry and Joan received Ontario Nature's WWH Gunn Conservation Award for 2014.
Jim Coles, a retired Forester, brings a love of the out-of-doors and his knowledge of forestry to the Festival. He has worked both domestically and internationally in the field of forestry and supports many stewardship initiatives in Bruce County.
He has served on the boards of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park, the Bruce Grey Woodlands Association and the Bruce Resource Stewardship Network.
John has an eye for detail and has used it in his hobby of wildlife photography these past 35 years. He started off specializing in bird photography but his interests have broadened and now include the wonders from the world of macrophotography (dragonflies and spiders) to astrophotography (sun and moon to far off nebulas). His photos have graced the covers of a number of magazines and books including Ontario’s second Breeding Bird Atlas. John lives in nearby Grey County and is an active member of the Saugeen Field Naturalists.
John is a practicing rural physician in the town of Mount Forest.
Justin truly lives "for the birds". In fact, he cannot remember a time when he was not interested in birds and nature more generally. He spent much of his childhood consulting his considerable nature book collection. At age 14, a family friend invited Justin to attend the birding course he was teaching for adults as part of the local school board's continuing education program. Justin soon assumed the role of unofficial assistant in the classroom as well as co-leader and, later, leader of the field excursions.
After university studies that saw his interest in nature fall to the wayside, he re-directed his interests to the outdoors, landing work as a seasonal, and then full-time interpretive naturalist at Gatineau Park, a federally-managed park in Quebec near Ottawa. Three years later, he began full-time work as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin Park, where he worked for almost 7 years, organizing the park's educational programming based at the Visitor Centre, recruiting and mentoring promising young interpretive naturalists, and assisting with various park management activities.
Justin began work with Quest Nature Tours in 2013 as Director of Programs, where he continues to showcase what the world has to offer. On the side, Justin is involved in various bird-related projects and organizations. Most recently, he was named to the Board of Directors of Birds Canada, which is Canada’s premiere bird science and conservation organization. His very favourite thing will always be leading bird walks. He is particularly interested in bird behaviour and vocalizations, and so he enjoys raising others' awareness of these aspects in the field.
Kelly Jazvac is a visual artist and Associate Professor at Concordia University in Montreal. She is also a member of The Synthetic Collective. This interdisciplinary research group of artists, scientists and humanists study plastic pollution in the Great Lakes Watershed.
Kiah is a 20 year old birder who has grown up with the Bruce Peninsula as his backyard. His keen interest in photography sparked his more serious fascination with all things avian. Kiah is the winner of the 2018 Canadian Geographic wildlife photographer of the year (under 17). He is the Bruce County compiler for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, an eBird reviewer for 3 counties and is an active Bruce County lister. Kiah has joined the Board of the Ontario Field Ornithologists and is an active member of the Bruce Birding Club. He leads hikes around the county for both organizations.
Kiah has broken the record for a Ontario Big Year in 2022 and has been in the news as he continues to add to his count.
Listen to his CBC Radio interview with CBC Radio / Read the Owen Sound Sun Times article
Lynne started birding as a kid and made up names for birds before she got her first bird book. She has a keen interest in birding for a purpose, so is a citizen scientist project enthusiast. She has participated in Forest Bird and Breeding Bird surveys, the ROM's Nest Records, coordinates a local Christmas Bird Count and sits on the Grey Bruce Records Committee.
Lynne has a special interest in breeding bird behaviour and nidiology, sparked during the first and second Breeding Bird Atlases (OBBA). She is currently the OBBA-3 Regional Coordinator for Grey County.
Lynne particularly enjoys serving on the Piping Plover recovery project at Sauble Beach and being a member of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival program committee.
Lynne worked as an Environmental Planner with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, where she was fortunate to have had many opportunities to explore the beautiful bird and botany-rich Niagara Escarpment throughout Grey Bruce, top to bottom.
Margaret sees birding as a social affair - a time for sharing and learning from each other. She enjoys birding in her own backyard and throughout the local countryside. Margaret is a member of the Bruce Birding Club and is their official recorder.
As a member of the Chantry Island Marine Heritage Society, she leads boat tours to the island and uses her keen interest in history in giving guided tours of the lighthouse and the historic keeper's cottage.
Professional singer-songwriter Margaret Wysman has endeared herself to her audiences for many years. She is equally at home singing in cozy cafes, in concert halls, at the Rogers Centre, for festivals along the Lake Huron shoreline, or among the trees and her fellow nature-lovers for events held in McGregor Park. With three albums to her credit and new songs yet to be recorded, this pop-folk artist tailors her song selection for each venue, weaving wisdom and humour into every one of her heartfelt performances.
Mark is one of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders and has participated every year with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did on his very first hike.....but he does have more gray hair. The early hikes are the best way to find the most birds and it is at this time that Mark is really on his game.....coffee not required, but it helps. Along the way, Mark provides many helpful tips on bird identification through sound, behaviour and habitat. His hikes are always full of information from birds to plant-life to wildlife and everything in between. Whether you're a full fledged birder or just starting out, his hikes will always inspire and entertain....it's all about the sex, baby!
Marshall Byle received his first field guide to the birds when he was just four years old. Today, with over half a century of experience, he still loves to bird and to share the wonder of birds with others. Marshall is a member of the Huron Fringe Field Naturalists. He writes a birding and nature column in the local magazine, Marketplace.
Marshall is currently on the Board of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park. He has been a leader for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival for many years.
Michael’s association with Algonquin spans nearly 50 years and includes working in the Park as an interpretive naturalist for 11 seasons. Michael hosted the international television series Wild by Nature, authored and illustrated 14 natural history books including Algonquin Wild and, his latest, Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park. Additionally, Michael provided the images for the award-winning children’s book At Home with the Beaver. In addition, Michael has written more than 1,100 natural history articles for newspapers and magazines (Nature’s Way was nearing its 30th season when Covid-19 cut it short). Michael teaches Natural History and Ornithology courses at Carleton University where more than 52,000 students have taken his courses. His numerous awards include the Council of Canadian University Biology Chairs Distinguished Public Science Education Award, the Friends of Algonquin Directors Award, and several Carleton University Teaching Achievement Awards. A popular keynote speaker and media guest, Michael was the only Canadian featured in the TVO/NHK Japan’s Superteachers series.
Mike grew up in the Waterloo area in southwestern Ontario and inherited his passion for natural history from his parents. He considers himself to have been very lucky to have completed an internship at Long Point Bird Observatory when he was 15; this experience opened many doors for him for school and for jobs.
Mike is involved in many aspects of birding and natural history study in the province. He currently serves as the secretary of the Ontario Bird Records Committee, coordinates eBird in Ontario, reviews Christmas Bird Count data for the province and works as a zoologist with the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre in Peterborough. Mike is also a member of the bird specialist subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
He is considered one of Canada’s top birders and is known as an avid advocate of using eBird to record sightings. His passion about keeping records accessible to everyone has driven his support for the use of eBird. Mike, along with his brother Ken authored the book Best Places to Bird in Ontario.
Mike was once loaned a pair of binoculars by a former boss and told to look for the birds he could hear. Since then he hasn't looked back, unless it was for a bird. Prior to that, Mike always had his head down, looking for insects, reptiles, amphibians, and fungi. He has sculpted himself into an all-round naturalist and educator in Southwestern Ontario. He has worked as a Park Naturalist at Ontario's Killbear and Algonquin Provincial Parks and as a Tour Manager at the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens in Costa Rica's cloud forests. He is currently an arborist and environmental project coordinator with the City of Sarnia and a Trip Leader for Quest Nature Tours. With Quest, Mike leads hikes during the Festival of Birds every spring at Point Pelee as well as trips to extraordinary international destinations each year.
Miptoon (Anthony Chegahno)
Miptoon (Anthony Chegahno) is from Neyaashiinigmiing which is also known as Cape Croker, Chippewas of Nawash (Unceded) First Nation. He has a Master's of Theology degree. Since 2007, he has been the Project Manager for the Nawash Species at Risk Inventory and Capacity-building Project, which works to inventory, monitor, conserve, and raise awareness about the remarkable diversity of Species at Risk and their habitats at Cape Croker, the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, and the traditional territories of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. He is an organizer of the Cape Croker Christmas Bird Count.
Miptoon has a deep relationship and vast knowledge of the natural history of Cape Croker and spends as much time as he can enjoying it.
Nikki started her avocation as a naturalist in the 1990s, then earned a Master’s degree in Forest Restoration from University of Guelph. While living in Sarnia, she worked for Carolinian Canada for 6 years and was on the boards of Lambton Wildlife Inc. and Tallgrass Ontario. She is a Past-president of Saugeen Nature and is currently a primary Atlaser for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas in southwest Grey County.
Pete’s interest in nature spawned from summers spent exploring along the Thames River in London, Ontario as a boy. He developed this keen interest in nature in general, and birds in particular, over the years with help from mentors in McIlwraith Field Naturalists. He is self-taught in the identification of birds by sight and sound and has finely tuned his skills since 1969 with annual trips to Point Pelee National Park. He is a life-long educator who loves to work with people of all ages to extol the wonders of avian life, leading many field trips over the years for various nature clubs and organizations. He also takes part in many citizen science projects, predominantly the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and Christmas Bird Counts.
After retiring from a long teaching career, he has pursued many interests in natural history. He worked with the Wildlife Preservation Trust Shrike program building and installing loggerhead shrike cages for their captive breeding program. He also became a consultant and field biologist for a number of environmental companies and agencies, working on wildlife projects in Ontario and Quebec. He leads bird hikes every spring at Point Pelee. Currently he is a guide for Quest Nature Tours which allows him to travel the world learning even more about birds and wildlife and imparting knowledge to those who accompany him. He is very pleased to lead trips for the Huron Fringe.
Rick has broad experience as a fish and wildlife technician. Most of his career was spend working all over Canada and was involved in many environmental research and monitoring projects. He has worked in the Grey Bruce area for last 20 years on various projects for Bruce Power, including waterfowl surveys, fisheries work and many other amphibian/reptile projects.
Rick is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman and when not working in the environment, he is spending his free time enjoying the many natural features in the area.
Rob is the Executive Director, Lead Facilitator, and Trainer for New Trail Forest Therapy. He has over 30 years experience in the field of education. Rob is certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs as a Forest Therapy Guide. As an experiential educator and adventure-based facilitator, Rob has developed many programs to support people of all ages within the context of the outdoors. Rob engages people in wilderness experiences designed to expand their understanding of self and develop the skills and personal awareness needed for life long empowerment. Rob has provided training to many different organizations and groups in the areas of special education, self-awareness, empowerment, behaviour management, and nature connection.
Shannon worked for the Saugeen Valley and other Conservation Authorities throughout the province as well as Ministry of Natural Resources/Forestry offices throughout her 34-year career. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Windsor and Trent University as well as Forestry and Fish and Wildlife Technician papers from Sir Sandford College in Lindsay. She has always had a keen interest in natural history and spent many years conducting hikes, presentations, seminars, education programs, etc., as part of educational awareness. Shannon has been on numerous environmental committees and groups and continues to educate the public about natural history.
Steve Burrows has pursued his bird watching hobby on six continents. He has written articles on travel and environmental issues for publications around the world, and is a former contributing field editor with Asian Geographic.
Steve’s first novel in the Birder Murder series, A Siege of Bitterns, was a Globe & Mail Top 100 Books selection for 2014, and won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis award for Best First Novel.
He lives with his wife, Resa, in Oshawa, Ontario.
A retired educator, Stew has had a long-time interest in natural history, nature photography and a special passion for bird behaviors. When Piping Plovers returned to nest at Sauble Beach in 2007, Stew became the first Coordinator for the Recovery Project. Under his caring watch over several years, Stew developed protocols that ensured the protection of the Piping Plover on the beach. Stew grew the program to over 100 volunteers and inspired many beachgoers to become Plover Lovers.
He continues to check on the Piping Plovers each season and sits on an advisory committee for the Piping Plover Committee of Stewardship Grey Bruce (Plover Lovers).
Sue graduated from the Ontario College of Art 1971, specializing in Communications and Design with a special interest in fine art.
As an Exhibit Designer for the Ministry of Natural Resources in the 1970s, Sue began her career working closely with biologists and naturalists. This gave her a deep appreciation for the environment which was demonstrated in the original displays for the Visitor Centre at MacGregor Point Provincial Park.
Sue has a distinctive style as evidenced in her watercolour, oil and acrylic paintings. She teaches watercolours, drawing and basic sketching techniques and will be using these skills as she guides you to add a brushstroke to an interactive community painting of the MacGregor landscape.
Tim Arthur has always loved nature and wildlife. While working as an Audio Engineer in the film & television industry he was fortunate to edit and mix the sound for the Profiles of Nature series for several years, as well as many other award winning wildlife documentaries. Based out of London, Tim has spent a lot of time birding in Bruce county. He does contract work for Bird Studies Canada doing wetland bird and amphibian surveys including many sites in and around the Huron Fringe. In 2017 Tim criss-crossed Ontario while doing a Big Year with his good friend and field work partner Jeremy Bensette, in which time he tallied a whopping 329 species himself! An accomplished photographer and tour guide, Tim has led birding trips for the Point Pelee Festival of Birds and the Ontario Field Ornithologists Club as well as some private birding and photography tours.
Tyler has spent the entirety of his life interested in the natural environment; this naturalist's curiosity inspired him to pursue a career in ecology. Over the last decade, Tyler has worked as a field ecologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and currently Parks Canada in Tobermory. His passion for studying natural history has recently landed him at Trent University, where he completed an undergraduate degree and thesis focusing on Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula alvar ecology. Tyler’s career and hobbies have shaped him into a well-rounded naturalist with a formidable expertise in field botany. Currently, Tyler is fulfilling a contract with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists to update the Checklist of Vascular Plants for Bruce and Grey Counties, Ontario.
Based at the University of Guelph, Wild Ontario uses live birds-of-prey to teach about science and nature. In this program you'll have the opportunity to learn about some of Ontario's most incredible hunters, and to meet the birds up close. A face-to-face encounter with a hawk or owl is something you will never forget! This program is great for all ages.
One of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders, a self taught photographer, Willy spent 35 years as a full-time photojournalist at The Owen Sound Sun Times. During his tenure as chief photographer, he oversaw the transition from black and white to colour then finally to digital. His newspaper photographs won over 100 provincial and national awards. In 1990, Willy was named Ontario News Photographers’ Association Photographer of the Year. His photography has appeared in national and international magazines, newspapers and books including the Globe and Mail, New York Times and National Geographic. His work is in both public and private collections. Willy’s life long love for the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce & Grey Counties has led to his commitment through his photography, to protect and interpret this special part of Canada for you to enjoy.